tv Obama CSPAN August 27, 2017 7:50am-8:53am EDT
early 1920s and focused on the italian community, which is what he came from. the earliest example i know is a woman actually sarah how in the 1870s in boston and she focused on unmarried women bond of trust, i'm unmarried, you are unmarried and there are quakers who gave me resources to enable me to make good on my thomases of wild investment returns and one that starts going the chief markers of this scheme, it's not advertising. it's word-of-mouth and that the pattern that has occurred right up to our time. >> you can watch this and other programs online at the tv.org.
>> good evening, everyone. welcome. i am the executive director of the abraham lincoln presidential museum. we appreciate your support of this institution. what i think is a special place and thank you for being here for a fastening program for before introduce our great speaker and want to note a few things. first, if you have not had a chance to see our rivalry special exhibit please go see it. we are proud of that exhibit that great rivalry that means so much the state's history and second i hope you all got a flyer during the munch of july we are having our annual backpack dry with district 186 and if you donate a backtrack-- backpack you get a free admission to the museum that's good for the rest of the year. if you bring five backpacks and you get
five free admissions. all those backpacks go to underserved kids in district 186, so please consider bringing in backpacks. finally, please put on your calendars are all-american picnic that will it will host in union square park saturday august 19 from 6 to like 10:00 p.m. with a lot of food and activities in the night will end with a showing of the classic movie field of dreams, so please come. thank you for being here and his stomach pleasure to introduce our speaker, peter baker. i'm assuming his boss must give combat pay. i hope he does. peter's atrophic journalist having served for 20 years of the washington post. he's also served in russia, afghanistan, iraq and 2008 he began
his work with the "new york times" serving as white house correspondent covering president obama. as the obama administration ended they-- the times appointed peter-- in addition to all of that because peter doesn't have enough to do he has authored a wonderful book, so he wrote a great book about the impeachment of charles president clinton. kremlin rising about vladimir putin's russia. and as you can see he does not shy away from difficult important topics i got to know peter during my service at the george w. bush library where we were fans of his book "days of fire". i'm proud to call peter a friend and colleague and now, peter wrote the call of history.
i can't tell you how much we appreciate peter taking time from his busy life to join us tonight. please welcome my friend, peter baker. >> thank you for coming. what a great crowd. can you hear me in the back? terrific. thank you. i can't think the abraham lincoln presidential library museum enough. allen, who has told you that we've gotten over the years. he did a fabulous job of setting up the george w. bush library. it's terrific and he's obviously doing a terrific job here as well. i had a chance to look through the museum with a little sneak into the vault and i have to say i called my wife like a geek and was excited to
have a chance to be here. what a treat. i won't talk too long. i want to open it up to questions. i'm not too good at speech, but i want to start with this. how many people in this room were at the old statehouse when barack obama first announced presidency? okay. this is a crowd. this is something. [applause]. >> really, i should be asking you questions. you guys know him better than i do. i don't get an audience like this very often. you will keep me honest if i get anything wrong, but i can imagine a place better to talk about barack obama and kick off a book about barack obama's presidency than here in the land of lincoln. you know when he kicked off his presidency he did it in relating the
16th presidents. he lost his white house campaign from the old statehouse where lincoln began his career. he arrived in washington on inauguration day along the same route lincoln took. he took the oath on lincoln's bible. he named a cabinet that everyone talked about as being a team of rivals like lincoln's was and so there was this very very heavy moment as you all remember at the beginning in which we thought here's another incoming abraham lincoln. he was not the only president we compared barack obama to. he was remarkable to see that analogies out there especially in the beginning when we thought of him as this symbol of hope for me generation. he was cast as sort of a latter-day john kennedy, jack kennedy, camelot's with a beautiful african-american family living in a house that
had built built in part by slaves. we thought of him as fdr because he was taking over at a time when it looked like we might head into a great depression and we were at war in iraq and afghanistan. time magazine putting on the cover with a fdr-- fdr example. some called him george washington. remember the powder wig? some people compared him even to reagan even though ideologically very different, new political era. when things started to go bad comparisons changed a bit and he was like and to johnson for sending more troops to afghanistan. people made of vietnam comparisons. some people compared him to dwight eisenhower with the hidden hand presidency where he was quite in public, but pulling strings behind
the scenes and avoiding military entanglements the weight like did. when things really went badly they compared him to richard nixon and said he was abusing his executive authority. those on the left said he was sometimes like george w. bush because he didn't do enough to change the counterterrorism strategy. those on the right called him a new jimmy carter saying he was it elite intellectual. it got to the point where i remember interviewing one of his top aides and he just sighed and said sometimes i think the only president we have not compared him to his franklin pierce, which is probably good because pierce is kind of a drunk. barack obama was not. would tell you is a little bit about who barack obama was, which is what we wanted to see in him, many different things. he came on stage in the national sense as a bit of a cipher. we did not know him the way you knew him in illinois.
may be some people in illinois didn't know them as well as you do. he was a fresh face on the national stage. almost any other president had to spend more time in a statewide or national office position the power than barack obama had. really, just two years in the senate in washington before he started running. i think that sounds from the fact he wasn't like any other president before. we looking for comparisons because we wanted to find them. he himself said during the 2008 campaign that he did it look like all the presidents on the dollar bill, which is true and that meant in some way the reference to his role in breaking barriers. he was the first african-american president, and that would always be the first line in his obituary, but he didn't wanted to be the only line. he was determined to be more than a new complexion in the oval office and so beyond his
consistent theme. they talk about this idea of identity, about creating an identity. to some extent obama's success on the national stage was creating this identity for himself. first what became of a breast so -- best selling book, discussion of race in society and his own generation. then to the politics of modern society to the arts of david axelrod. there was constant creation and re-creation of identity throughout his rise. he was opaque. even to those of us who covered in turkey didn't come back to the press cabin on air force one and chit chat with reporters. he didn't throw his hands are vegan ask of the kids were. it was a opposite of his very unfiltered vice president joe
biden would do all those things. joe biden is a very authentic man, whatever you think of them good or bad, right or wrong on the policies he is what he is. he's exactly what you see in public. he used to have every year a barbecue on the lawn of the vice presidents mansion, and for kids of reporters and staff, and they put up these moon bounces and squirt guns and water games all over the place and he would run around the backyard squirting guns at all the kids. the first year, my kids were there, the kids actually teamed up and gained up on him. by the second your he figured it out. he rousted them and made them his posse and attacked the reporters. [laughing] very smart. that's not obama. that's not the kind of guy he was. he didn't roll that way. he was a very reserved personality, intellectualized. he was thoughtful but he is not -- he's not like george w. bush.
he didn't give up playful nicknames to people. he was not like bill clinton who chartered into any crowd he could find. my favorite story about bill clinton, he would go out and hit the rope line while hillary of weight in the limo. bush and biden and clinton, they are extroverts and political creatures and ever charge of people out of crowd. barack obama was an introvert. the first introvert with that in white has probably since maybe jimmy carter. he liked people. i'm not saying he didn't but he did not get energy from a crowd the way some of those others did. his staff told me they would have to give, try to lead five or ten minutes after an event in eastern frontier recharges batteries because they retrain him a little bit. that's not unusual. that's normal for a lot of people but in politician is pretty unusual and that's one of
the things that made instead as an unusual kind of president. it doesn't mean he was called necessarily. marine doubted my office famously compared to do mr. spock, the character from star trek. mr. spock was half human. that's not a bad comparison think of. there is a human side to barack obama just as they are to everyone for president. he loved to stay up at night watching sports and pick he was a fierce competitor on the basketball court. a real trash talker. he would bump and jostle with these twentysomething aids and razz them for missing a shot and you've got to pick it up. he told the ambassador russia, you got to get those knees going. he had a site to him that we didn't see in public as much that was pretty colorful. in fact, he was a family man who
would make sure to leave the oval office by 6:30 p.m. so we could go home and have dinner with his conspicuous to say one great thing about what else is living above the store, a gutsy family more than he had on the campaign trail. he was a good about going to the girls bask about games on the weekends and so we all get in a motorcade and all go out there, wait in the car with the ambulance and that while he coached basketball. there's even emotional moments. i remember very vividly when the newtown schoolmaster happened, and president obama came out to the briefing of talked about that and he just come he couldn't control himself. he lost his composure which i don't think we seem to very often. he started to speak and then he paused for like eight seconds, which is think about is a long time for a president to stand or not say something and then he went on again and he paused again because he couldn't control his own emotional reaction to the thing which again is contrary to his
reputation. but he took over an extraordinary time and with great challenges. we were on the economic abyss. the wars in the middle east, we saw russia. at home he had a grand ambitions prevent healthcare and energy and climate change, immigration, gun control and government spending. some of this he managed to accomplish but he also found himself the target of a conservative backlash. he alienated a lot of the country and we saw in the form of this tea party by seeking an cost in both houses of congress over the two elections that followed. in fact, rock obama one -two national elections for a convincing but the three of elections that really matter to be lost all three of them. he lost the house and the senate and, of course, he lost the white house in 2016.
the country was in a sour mood throughout his presidency even before he arrived to his entire presidency, gallup poll showed not once did the american public majority of americans into gallup polls said the country was in the right direction. a very sour and fiber to be governing in. only 11% of americans were happy with the countries direction. he had this phenomena where hope and change ended up preside over an area of paralysis and polarization. essentially, something as undeniably positive as hunting down and finally dispatching osama bin laden only produce a very short-lived sense of unity and consensus from the country. i guess partly because the economic recovery hold us back from the abyss and to produce millions of jobs, cut unemployment in half, but also left many people feeling behind and resentful.
clearly there was a sense that he is not represented a significant portion of the population as they saw their needs in government. he became instead of the change agent to many americans, part of washington. i think it's interesting in a lot of ways but he's not the first president to come into office promising unity, only to become a polarizer. all three presidents i covered before president trump basically shared that aspiration. president clinton in the second term inaugural address he used the phrase repair of the briefs. as isaiah said, and by that he meant the partisan breach in washington. within two years he had been impeached and we were in a very partisan argument over his conduct and what was the proper response to that. president bush came to office
promising to be a uniter, not a fighter. he was wanting that to be the case and yet through the iraq war and other decisions he made, the country was as divided as ever. president obama was surprised to discover that he couldn't fix that. it was the one thing you said publicly that he regrets in one of the state of the unions towards the end he said that's the thing just underestimated, how divided we are and my ability to bring people together. that leads us to his successor who did not come into office promising to be a uniter and has not governed as somebody who wants to unite clearly. and, therefore, in some ways represents the country in a time as we see them today. we blame our politicians for our paralysis but in fact, in some ways we ought to think about ourselves because they representing us.
we are, these days, more and more living, working, talking and existing in a bubble with people who agree with us. if you are a liberal you watch msnbc. if you're conservative you watch fox. it extends beyond our viewing habits even to where we live. demographers have figured this out as a breaking point at 800 people per square mile. if you live in a place with fewer than 200 yor 200 you are s likely to be republican. if you live in a place with more than 800 people per square mile you are twice as likely to be a democrat. when leaving with people who agree with us. a pullback in the early 60s asked people would it bother you if your son or your daughter married to somebody from the other party? only four or 5% said yes. a few years ago someone asked the same poll again and among democrats is something like 35% said i don't want any republican
in law. almost 50% of republicans don't want a democrat hanging out at thanksgiving. we are increasingly divided and i think that's the politics that is come to washington and the president obama struggled with asked challenge the last three presidents we've had. president obama rightly noted, the easy issues don't come to his desk, only the hard ones. that's right and as such is true for them, every president. if it was easy you did need the president to get involved. imagine your whole time and offices spent dealing with the hardest questions possible. it got to the point where he was so beaten down by the hard choices in front of him that he and his first chief of staff rahm emmanuel, the chicago trip mayor of chicago used to joke they should move to hawaii and open up a t-shirt shack and they would have just one kind of shirt, white, with one size, medium. and to become such a running joke that every time they were
in a situation or the oval office and it's a some terrible choice, bail out the auto industry, to authorize this drone strike? rahm emmanuel would turn to obama and he would just say white. and obama would look back and say medium. if all these times it took a toll on and he didn't show up for a much great even if you look at these pictures, he is a little great on-topic think he carried himself through his presidency with a lot of calm poise, or different than other politicians who are more expressive, let's say. he rarely rushed into decision fix sometimes to a fault. he was in il. he sat alone at the white house late at night reading briefing papers or playing words with friends after his wife and daughters had gone to bed. he was a very disciplined guy picky on indulgence he permitted himself was a handful of almonds.
in fact, his chef joked to my colleague and friend that he only allowed himself seven almonds. not six, not eight. seven almonds. that became a running joke. president by the way to neither. sometimes he did at six almonds. i think it tells us something was a joke that his own chef and his wife by the way used to make. i think was a humbling journey for him. what started off as confidence seem to minute sometimes to be hubris. as he started off promising he was going to, the moment when the rise of the oceans would begin to flow and the planet would begin to heal. and by the low point of his second term he had radically revise his expectations, and the staff are member told me maybe there are no incomes and more. maybe there's only presidents are trying to get through difficult times. i thought the exhibit at the museum reminded us that lincoln
was not in lincoln at first either. in fact, if you look through the very apt to split of the political cartoons of his time in the newspaper coverage it was pretty tough. he was called all sorts of terrible things. people do not necessarily love lincoln in all parts of the country and did not redo him the way we do today. that's just the trial of being a president is you find yourself constantly second-guessed, constantly scrutinized and criticized, often for a good reason. it's no question a very difficult job. and i think that for president obama there are things he can feel proud of, he does feel proud of for his legacy bringing the economy back from the abyss, cutting unemployment in half, getting bin laden. and there are parts of his legacy that i think he wishes he could have done differently. syria being an obvious example. he is laying down the red line that he didn't exactly in force on the use of chemical weapons,,
and is in the billy to stop that civil war, his inability to find a formula that would keep america from becoming entangled in another iraq which is what he wanted to avoid but somehow stopping the situation with hundreds of thousand people got killed. these are the lessons that he learned and he got to the point where he sort of lowered his own expectations. he realized president can't single-handedly change the world themselves but they could do the best they could and pass off to the future generation. he said to my friend, as the president you are essentially a relay swimmer in a river full of rapids and the river is history. he switch metaphors that he said at the end of the day we are a long-running story. we just try to get our paragraph right. this book i hope is only the first draft of his paragraph. with that i'd love to see if we could open up and take some questions and see what, total
what i i got wrong about obama and what we should be thinking. we have a couple of microphones i think in the audience, right? we will raise hands and we'll see if, tell me who you are, give me your name and number. no, no, no give me your name and your credit card number, please come and we will have a good conversation. how about right here? >> i was wondering if you could tell us what happened to all the czars? >> can you hear me by the way with this microphone works the question is what happened to all the czars. one of the things is he pointed and energies are, middle east czar, all these czars in the white house and state department. kind of a political fiction to make you think you're going to do something.
he's not the only one to do it but the idea of a czar sounds good. we'll have someone cut through through the bureaucracy. some of them really did important things. when he appointed ron klain to supervise the response of ebola it made a difference. they actually did manage to alleys stop the spread of the bold in west africa and to keep it from spreading here in america. some of them didn't work out and they went back to normal ways of doing things. president trump basically has done away with czars in a way i think his white house is one czar. [laughing] i think he wants to make sure everybody knows it. we must have other questions. here we go. >> am i supposed to tell you my name? >> if you like. >> my name is catherine harris. nice to meet you. my question is do you think that one of the current presidents
things to do is to tear down the legacy that previous presidents had? >> that the great question. is the cron job of the present to tear down the legacy of the previous president? i've written about this and we were taught by this very subject so you're very timely. i think every president comes in wanting to set a new direction, especially those who are succeeding a president of another party. what i find striking is how much this president, president trump, makes it a point of undoing thing his predecessor had done. when dwight eisenhower became the first republican to come in after fdr and truman, he didn't undo the new do. he basic left it in place. when richard nixon came in he didn't undo the great society. he more or less left it in place. ronald reagan promised to abolish jimmy carter's department of energy and
education but in the end he didn't. i think these presidents wanted to move forward with their own proactive agenda, the own things they wanted to build. again they took different course of but he didn't spend a lot of time on doing things. president trump in his first six months of spent a lot of time trying to undo things. obviously people the country out of the transpacific partnership trade agreement that president obama negotiated. he pulled the country out of the paris climate agreement that president obama had negotiated. he reversed him on the keystone pipeline. he is an done a lot of environmental and business regulations. he has tried to reverse the health care plan and the dodd-frank wall street regulations, and he's been very critical things like the iran nuclear deal. i think that what they would argue, what president trump would argue his like a real estate developer you have to
clear out the lot before you can build a new building and they want to clear out what they think are damaging or wrongheaded things that his predecessor had done. and that would be better for the country and then he can, and build new programs that he wants to build. the risk is you end up looking as a negative rather than a positive, right? presidents want to be a positive force, and i think you see with his health care debate just this week, just in the last 24 hours that is that so easy to undo things that previous presidents have done, especially things that involve legislators and other countries like the iran deal were president trump has had success in entering some of president obama's legacy or things done by executive authority, that he can do by himself without needing congress. he could argue president obama basically made his own bed because did a lot of things
through executive authority when he got frustrated that congress wasn't going along with them. if you live by the pain and phone, that was the strategy president obama talked about, you will die by the pen and phone. the last 24 hours we see with healthcare that congress isn't so easy to go along, even which own party. we now have seen that effort now, not saying is that because anything can always happen in congress but it don't see how he gets any easier for them in the weeks to come. if obamacare then survives, what shape is it in? is a going to be any need to do things to shore it up? some of these exchanges are having real trouble. senator mcconnell, majority leader, is that maybe we need to work with democrats to find a a way to shore up these exchanges so people aren't strong didn't find anybody to ensure that some of these counties with only one provider and so forth. i don't know whether the republicans and democrats can
come together to do that and that will be an interesting test. right here. >> do you feel that once president obama became president that that was the beginning of our partisanship? i mean, i have looked at back through the years even the vietnam war and nixon and reagan, and even the second bush, with the goal for, i did not see the adamant partisanship there is now. you have your liberals, your conservatives and they are not going to talk to each other. did it start big time with him? >> the question for anybody who didn't here is did the partisanship really get started with obama? is what really got it going? i would say no. i was in a country has been very partisan from the very beginning. we built the system to be this way. we built this to be hard.
we didn't say okay, we have aching. we say we have three branches of government at all of the man to some extent coequal power -- we have a team. not going to to get one has to bascom he had to get to houses, they have to agree, have the same wording then you sent to the president and he or she has to approve it. we build conflict into the system to start with. if you look back at history there have been rough times. all you have to do is walk around this facility and the other silly cross a street understand how deeply divide our country has been at various moments. obviously not every did you have a civil war, thank god, that's extreme will hopefully never see again but the issues that continue to divide us. you mentioned something i think mccarthyism was a great area of divisiveness. watergate and fit topic we've had moments of great divisiveness in the past. what's happened though is it has grown more partisan to some
extent, because the political party since the '60s have increasingly drifted to the ideological homes. when lbj was trying to get civil rights bill through congress he worked with northern republicans and some democrats and it was the seven democrats were on the other side. now today anybody, exactly, all the conservatives are more or less in one party and so is more republican -democrat that used to be but i'm not sure it's not liberal conservative. different parties would point to different moments. the real start of the day modern partisan polarization is fill in the blank. robert bork nomination. those democrats were so mean. or clarence thomas or jim wright or newt gingrich or clinton's impeachment. anybody can point to a starting point and say aha, from that point it became much more partisan.
it's been growing with each presidency. i think the last 30 years we have seen a rise through each presidency and it's been encouraged by our demographics. if you're a republican congressman, you are much more likely to be challenged from the right when you are from the left. you have to worry about your conservative base. same is true on the left. if you're a democratic caucus you have to worry about your liberal base more than you have your right. you'ryou are not as likely to wk together because is no reward for. there's only prettily. they seek penalty. congress and politics is about incentives and disincentive. our congress a use there were incentives to be a lease bipartisan. today that is seen as not low, your rhino, not a republican, republican in name only or you're a soft liberal. president obama, we forget about this because his numbers are much higher today than they were in quite a while. a bloomberg poll said he is as
popular today as a first-year when you you still riding high. what we forget is a lot of his presidency liberals are disappointed with them. that he wasn't born liberal. he forsake us on public option. he adopted bushes characters and strategy. i think the incentive structure is a more partisanship and that's been fueled by social media, twitter, facebook, all these venues that serve to pull us apart more and amplified the angry voices more. i would say the media probably plays a role in that. i'm sure we amplified as well. i think about this, people say you get all these death threats and no, twitter and all that. i think people used to be out there but they had to sit down and write a letter and fighting address and get a stamp and put on an envelope and walking to the post office and it was a lot harder.
today, done. right next what did lincoln do? lincoln is a great example. when lincoln was angry and he had real anger at his generals, particularly mclellan, he would write some really scathing letter and put it in a drawer and you wouldn't senate till the next day. by the next day he thought better on. nobody puts a tweet in the drawer. [laughing] [inaudible] >> certain people wish he would. [laughing] >> how about over here? >> could you tell us about your wife and family and also about gwen ifill? and also maybe many of you have forgotten, but we used at something called a fairness
doctrine, which would've prevented rush limbaugh from having his show on the radio because he would've had to have opposing viewpoints on it. >> the question is about the fairness doctrine, gwen ifill, and my wife and son. the fairness doctrine that sort of been supplanted by the proliferation of media. the fairness doctrine, i think that it was that was back in the day when we had three channels, and a couple major national newspapers and that was pretty much it. to date if you want your voice heard no matter how extreme, no matter how far right, whatever, there are venues for you to do that and places that rush limbaugh and others in the equipment on the left can get their message out. i think the larger attitude today on that is as long as there's a marketplace of ideas out there that people have access to, that's the most important thing. that's good. the proliferation of media is good. i think it's great to have a
"huffington post" and the daily caller, a liberal and conservative news outlet. what worries me is we only read those that we agree with. when i tell people if you watch msnbc, great, but have you wanted while turn on fox. just -- i know, i know. [laughing] turn it on anyway. maybe you'll substitute for coffee in the morning because it will get you going. by the way, i tell people who watch fox could watch in sbc and once a while. i think it's healthy that we understand that other parts of the country seeking stiffly. we don't have to agree with you. i'm not telling you to agree to anybody. it's healthy to understand how maybe another segment of her country sees the world, what issues are important, what lanes they'rthere seeing things throu. we'll understand them better, maybe they would understand this better, whatever. we take a risk if we only read or watch things that we agree with. gwen ifill by the way would
agree with that. gwen ifill of course, my friend and host of washington week for so many years, and my model of an amazing journalist, a be the best television journalist i ever knew. maybe the best journalist i've ever known. what i loved about her was her curiosity, her fascination with a story and the people behind them and she just wanted no things and figure things out and talk about them. she country if she had a partisan vote in her body i could know was. she was fair to everybody, very evenhanded and she just cared about the issues and things that were important to the country of one people to talk about. and i love, love love the condor program every chance she got. she left us with a great legacy. my wife is he of the greatest girls i know. she was the editor of politico after the election she founded
political magazine which is part of what they do right now in plot and longer form story, deeper magazine style journalism to a politico. before that she is editor of foreign policy. we were in moscow together. she's an amazing editor, reported today she's doing a weekly podcast i urge you to listen to call global politico. she interviews brilliant people every week. jim baker, condi rice, all sorts of passing people. we have a journalistic household. you worry though of a bring up a kid in washington, a danger that they become very washington. my son, instead of playing marco rubio, he was with the strength and the click marco rubio. [laughing] that's probably not very good.
marco -- rubio. marco -- rubio. >> i tried to get into plank mike pence but they would have none of it. [laughing] he's a great kid and hope to do something other than journalism, but anyway. he's 12, thank you. how about right here. >> back to the polarization issue that we've been having for the last 30 years or more, weird use a going? do you see any solution to it? are we going to be able to end it before it destroys us? >> that's a great question and it's what one of us in the question our time. i don't know. you sort of feel like at a a certain point that burns itself out, at some point we say okay, we have to find a giveaway of doing things but every moment
that encourage people to say that, it diminishes almost be merely, vanishes. sometimes it happens after these terrible acts of violence were all kind of come together and say we are one country, all americans, we ought to have our differences civil and respectful, then that lasts about five minutes. so i don't know what event or white issue would change the dynamic. i think the mechanisms in place, the accelerants as the arson investigators would call them, are still there. i don't know how that changes. look, there are people out there who find that good, the one thing president trump has shown it is that people want him to fight and they think the combination between left and right republican and democrat have making too much alike. there is, in fact, this permanent clash in washington that is think it's all for right and we need an outsider to break
things up. they took a chance on a guy who would have been public office before because they are so deeply frustrated with the existing system. they sent a bulldozer to washington, tear it down and let's tried again. is he going to work out that way? we'll see how he adapts because not, it just doesn't work out that way. i don't know how the public will respond. at the moment polls show he has lost support, he's at 36% in the polls. that could change. he's obviously a remarkable political figure. he did something nobody would've ever expected, an outsider like him to do, and we will see how he manages to take the six months he said so far translated to the next three and a half years.
>> i wanted to know, do you think we know more than now what cheney -- [inaudible] the reason why they should continue bushes policies in afghanistan, anti-terrorism or whatnot, you say that he retained bushes policy. i was wondering if we know more now than then about what were dick cheney excuses, his reasoning that may be changed obama's might? >> the question is about obama preserving some of president bush's in terms of cantors in. one of the things people we get confused because president obama runs against first-term george w. bush but he inherits second term georg george w. bush. and by that i mean before leaving office bush himself had
moderated and changed a lot of his policies. waterboarding had that happen in a second term at all. when president obama comes in he bans torture. it already actually stopped. president obama want to close guantánamo. president bush had started off that path before he left office. in fact, he got more detainees moved out of guantánamo and president obama did. he just didn't finish it in more than president obama did. he got congress to approve the secresecret service program that every objected to that the "new york times" broke the story about the congress ultimately bought into it and putting some safeguards. senator obama voted for it. the military tribunals that the supreme court had rejected were recast and put through congress and congress bought into. president bush spent a lot of time tried to moderate his program, get rid of some of the harshness to the edges, more extreme edges that people object objected to the next president
he publicly democrat wouldn't feel the need to throw it all out. he more or less of cedric dick cheney objected and fought bush to the new and the second term against a lot of these decisions he made and was very upset about that. in the beginning of obama's presents when you see dick cheney coming after prom a -- after obama which is always a proxy for dick cheney is private fight he's been having with bush for four years prior to that. his feelings were more or less the same which was a change in policy to him were dangers and too weak minded. the into bush was closer to the beginning of obama and cheney would've liked. by the time bush leaves office, because of the surge and other things have the situation and in iraq of combat a little bit. security was better and he signed an agreement with the iraqis to pull all american troops out by the end of 2011. what did president obama do we
commit office? he did the exact same thing. he kept the bush schedule. there was more continuity between the into bush and the beginning of obama than anyone would have thought if you're just listen to the rhetoric. >> i wanted to follow-up on the first question you had. we know mitch mcconnell said early on he wanted to make sure president obama did not have a second term. and so from the beginning that's what the republicans wanted to do. now that the affordable care act and what they wanted to do he has been defeated three times now, do you think, and another thing he said, the democrats won't help us. well, they didn't help the democrats when they tried to do it. do you think now that this is happened, maybe now this will get them to work together?
>> that's a great question. look, you know, one party, one man's destruction is an is another man's principled resistance, right? no question republicans didn't do a lot to president obama. the democrats are not doing a lot to a president trump and you can argue how much obama should have done more or trump should've done more to reach out. it is the nature of our times. each party rewrites the rules to be more divided, then when the power shifts, complaints about the rules they just put in place because the other guys get to use the exact same rules. it's not surprising democrats will not go along with the trump repeating, something they believe to be the biggest achievement. why with a? -- why with a? i will correct you, mitch
mcconnell said that at the end of come near the end of the second year of president obama's term winner heading into the midterm. he said in the campaign context. if you put any democrat on truth serum they would say their goal was to make president trump and one-term president as well. that's the nature of a partisan system. a better example for your point probably might be that on the night of his inauguration in 2009, number of republicans got together including paul ryan and had dinner and then begin to lay out what they would basically be a pattern of resistance or obstruction or whatever phrase you want to use so from the beginning in that sense those folks did, in fact, say we are not going to cooperate. this is not a presidency we want to be a part of. again is because the incentive structure is now, doesn't work. it does seem to me there are things both parties agree to be done to fix the health care system, that even if you like obamacare, there are things
about it that liberals would like to fix and conservatives understand are broken as well and that there is a moment here we might see. mcconnell himself, doctor no owhatever, i forgot his name, senator know, did say we might've to network with democrats. i know it's a hard thing to imagine but it is conceivable because without some sort of legislative fix there are a lot of problems. i don't know, president trump today said i'm just going to let it fail and it will collapse and then the democrats will be to blame and then they wil want tok with me. that's a very interesting attitude, and i don't know how that will play out. i'm not an expert on health care policy but i think we haven't seen the end of the issue. i just don't have a lot of, i stopped making predictions in washington.
one reason i really stop making is the idea is that will be bipartisanship. right here. >> thank you i just can't help but bring up how much the country has been confronted with the issue of race as being a real strong catalyst to the obstructionism. from the beginning of president obama's presidency, it has seemed that that has been the underlying tone that nobody wants to talk about. and least of all him. what i see, i'm only 40 so i don't have, i haven't been through that many presidencies
in my adult life, but the degree of the divide in the nature of the divide seems like nothing else ever before. people don't talk about the difference in policy anymore. we are talking about anger and just vile, hateful language and hating each other. it's very, very deep and dark and depressing to me. what i see now going forward is when people talk about, when i hear people who are very conservative or right wing say obama was the biggest divider of them all. immediately what comes to mind is, well, he didn't divide you, but perhaps he made you face what you don't want to see. what you don't want to admit,
which another would say out in public, which is this is not the type of president, this is not the color of president i want and can handle. that has to be turned everything upside down. my husband and i, my husband is caucasian and would always talk about is this the conservative old man, white man's last stand? like old and everything and just be as hateful and as racist and as misogynist as possible? i feel like everything is turned upside down. where nobody has ever before each other, we don't talk about let's look at why voted no for this healthcare plan what did you not like about it? why did you vote no? know, lunches, publicly and talk about the fact that you voted no. we teach our children to talk about issues differently than this. could you comment on that?
>> i appreciate the point, i really do. there's no question a certain part of the country did not like barack obama as president because of reasons of race, no question about it. we have not solve that issue. as much as this moment in grant park eight, nine years ago might have made us think we had moved, we have not moved as far as people had hoped. i was struck actually i remember, i was struck even people, a lot of republicans found obama's election a hopeful sign, even if they didn't vote for him. george bush like barack obama. a lot of bushes people voted for barack obama including i believe his top economic people who are quite bothered by what they saw on the other side. i think john mccain even when he lost at least for a small moment found at least some good
any idea that the country had elected somebody who never would have ever been elected in the past even though he didn't want this particular guy to win because he thought he was a better candidate. and then we saw what happened over those eight years obviously with race being such a big flashpoint. and one tha one of the present f as very as you say very reluctant to address. he did not want to be an african-american president. he wanted to be a president who is african-american. he wanted to be judged and evaluated on his climate policies and his nationals could policies, economic policies. he did not want to be thought of entirely through a racial prism and he avoided talking about it, particularly in his first term. his second term freed of the worry about reelection and confronting a more brilliant series of events in the country that made harder to ignore he became more vocal about it. remember, early on he felt
burned either skip gates episode, the harper professor, african-american, compasses him and is arrested in his own home by a cambridge, massachusetts, police officer, mistaken arrest obviously very racially charged. president is asked about any press conference and said i think they acted stupidly. it caused a big fuss, he criticized the police and we have to have a beer on it. the white house would bring the top and the professor together and have a beer. president obama did not want to have another beer with another set of people like that. with trayvon martin in baltimore and so on and so forth he didn't have a choice. he began talking about it more and begin to find his voice a little more. i think we all discovered that there still a lot of real issues at the. president trump runs a campaign that at the very least take advantage of some of that. you could argue through the whole birther thing, stokes it.
having said all that, having said all that, let's keep in mind that the ugliness of our politics did not start with barack obama. critics accuse the most extreme elements of the country accused bill clinton of murdering vince foster, running drugs out of arizona, of all sorts of things for which there's actually no evidence as those things for which they're actually, in some cases as he saw, there was some obviously misconduct. but the more extreme version of it was like he rolled up vince foster in a rug integument in the park, was extraordinary things he was accused of. by the way, the same with the george w. bush. accuse of extra underthings. we can criticize them for all sorts of things. which is also called a nazi, compared to hitler. we've talked about this julius
caesar plate in near. there was a play called the assassination of george w. bush. how is that several? it's not. i'm not saying race doesn't play a role, does but ugliness unfortunate as part of our politics right now. that was one more element that president obama confronted or in some cases chose not to confront but it think he left office feeling a little disappointed he wasn't able to do more, that we had not become a postracial society and he didn't get everything done he wanted to. i'm getting a pokier i think. one more question, okay. >> the american presidency, there's too sitting presidents -- [inaudible] that's a great question the question is there are six living president, are they more a team of rivals our bibles? i actually think they're much
more alike than we think. let's put the current guy aside for a second. [laughing] [applause] i mean that only that he figure and he has a different style and his girl in office and being in office makes them different. if you watch to see of the night president bush and president clinton got together at the bush presidential center in dallas and had a talk. those guys are great together, joking and having interesting insights about the nature of the present and nature of our country. you would think they were of a different party and the embattled through repeated elections in a pretty tough ways. that's because especially when you leave office, there are only six people alive who are confront the issues that confront it. the choices available do not get any better if the other party takes over. the choices are still rotten to the core, like medium, right?
i understand each other better. they have more of a shared sense of purpose and experience, that nobody else can understand. i think they do get along, especially after they leave office, much better than you do when they're in office or campaign because they have moved to a different stage of their life and a different station and the life of the nation. i think president obama likes president bush, likes president clinton, likes bush 41. and jimmy carter. look at how much good friend jimmy carter and gerald ford became, right? orgy one and clinton. clinton said he was a black sheep of the family. george w. bush calls and my brother from another mother. [laughing] the end of shared things. by the way when i covered them, i saw similarities, like bush and clinton were much more alike
in their outgoing nature and the love of politics and being with people, there are gary's approach to the world. obama was like clinton in the sense that he liked to dig deep on an issue spent a lot of time thinking about it, maybe too much time thinking about it. once the decision was made, obama was like bush come he never looked back. he didn't question things. he was a discipline in that regard. decision is made, move on. they are all these personality traits you can compare to each other that have nothing to do with party and the expenses broadly speaking are they are more alike than that. this guy will be interesting test if that is the case when he leaves office. >> thank you all for coming. [applause] >> here's a look at some authors recently featured on booktv's